All posts by iamvlewis

Curriculum Associates is Doing Meaningful work

Megan is a seasoned educator and has spent over 10 years in the classroom so the transition from the classroom into this corporate aspect tied dear to her heart. This is important and valuable to educators because having some skin in the game means that you are empathetic and knowledgeable about what it takes to be effective in the classroom and yield great student outcomes. The credibility of a company is shot when educators are made to feel like a product is being shoved in their face without inviting educators to the table or having a team of educators within the company that can offer valuable insight.

To get into the interview with Megan (see the link below), you may want to bypass all the small talk at the start of the video and get right into it at the 4:20 mark and make their case that teachers and students are always at the forefront of what they design for iReady Math and iReady Reading through focus groups, consistent updates, criterion-referenced measures, and individual learning pathways.

The diagnostic tools are more accessible by building in compatibility features for screen readers, allows closed captioning, and even offering lessons in Spanish for the ELL demographic of students. The team at Curriculum Associates take pride in actually studying their bank of lessons and making sure they are reflective of the students’ interests using Google Glasses and hand sensors. The list is growing of offerings, resources and products for districts. They firmly believe in the power of what they have designed that they offer a money back guarantee program.

Discourse Cards

Megan Spills the Tea on Curriculum Associates

The Discourse Cards open up the conversations for students to engage with each other and allow the teacher to assess in a formative way where students are in their learning. No more googly eyes or glazed over looks when you prompt students to engage verbally! This takes the pressure off of teachers searching for discussion prompts or awkward games that push you into conversations but in this sense, the dialogue can happen more organically.

It is great to know that Curriculum Associates is truly looking to unpack what is needed to help students learn and support the teaching that goes along with that. We cannot wait to see what else will roll out with this company and how they will continue to spread across the country and in schools everywhere.

Follow them on Twitter @CurriculumAssoc

Epson USA is Making Engagement an Action Word

 

Student Engagement is more than just a buzz word in engagement, it truly needs to visible and an actionable. Now, engagement has to be meaningful and purposeful versus giving the appearance of just doing something or looking busy.

BrightLink 1485Fi is one of the newest interactive laser projectors introduced to the market in order to allow more ease and function as it relates to displaying content simultaneously from your PC in one swiping motion.

100-inch 16×9 image can easily be displayed in no time with a streamlined installation process that attaches to the top of your display board that is automatically calibrated. The part that will make your Tech Support Team the happiest and the no replacement lamps which makes it maintenance free! We all can get into that!

The Epson L610u is another projector with an interactive camera that offers a 150-inch wide image and truly can blanket and clothe any flat wall space to allow students to interact with the content in an up close and personal way versus from the confinements of their desks. Think about how you can take school assemblies, activities or parent nights to another level by having these in one of your open common spaces for larger crowds to gather and feel more included.

There are 200 apps on their website that help all learners access learning in their unique way but moreso take away the tedious feeling of “doing work” from the educational setting. Three cheers to the visual accompaniment and reinforcer for learners at every stage and across all subject areas and disciplines.

Live Interview with Epson’s BrightLink Product Manager

Girls in EPSON Challenge

To add to all the excitement, Pass the Scope EDU partnered with Epson on learning possibilities and had two competing teams of educators put to test the capabilities of the projector displays. In this task challenge, we had the boys versus the girls (not set up that way on purpose) and the feedback on how this tool could be used in the classroom across elementary, middle, secondary and post-secondary is shared in the video link below by  Josue Falaise of Rutgers University.

The winners took home a pair of EPSON ProSense 17 Smartwatches.

EPSON Smartwatches
Epson ProSense 17 SmartWatch

The thought of getting physical and being active is scary for some educators and to allow about 20 or more littles or biggers move about the classroom can escalate that feeling ten-fold. The reality of all of this is that we cannot be the barrier to learning and must provide experiences that will be memorable for learners of all ages and sizes. We can add another layer and address the fact that students sitting at their desks do not contribute to better health and including time for them to move around increases their activity and counters the cut physical education programs and recess time. This also reduces some of the screen and headphone time we see at the upper grades when instruction and learning should be prominent.

Epson is thinking of a student-centered classroom that allows more time for the teacher to provide feedback and address specific needs. This is learning optimized, limitless and engaging.

Epson Challenge Competition and Results

Josue Epson Tweet

Josue and Christian
Josue and Christian from ISTE18 in Chicago are FIT Leaders and were hoping to compete together in Philly. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about what Epson has to offer, follow them on Twitter at @EpsonEducation  or visit their website at www.Epson.com

Impero US says Safety and Productivity Rules

The headline news and in-school service training are riddled with information on safety and active shooter drills. This is becoming too common of a phenomenon across the country and at every level of school. Parents and communities want to know their children are protected while under the supervision of caring adults and learning from highly qualified teachers. Though there are no systems that are 100% secure, Impero is working hard to decrease the rates in which incidents occur across the country.

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  • Building relationships with students so you recognize abnormalities
  • Consult with families and communities about their needs and support services
  • Conduct regular training for administrators, clerks and teachers using simulated scenarios

 

Richard Fuller says Safer Classrooms and Productive Tools are the heart of education as far as Impero is concerned. There is an obvious push for 1:1 devices in classrooms and the company’s focus is to come up with solutions that teachers want that will assist them in protecting their human resource: the students. Legislation and governing policies are putting measures in place to better monitor school safety issues but Impero believes that being proactive rather than reactive is going to make for better outcomes for student mental health. This coupled with academics is certainly the formula for addressing the whole child.

See and hear more from Richard in this PassTheScopeEDU interview

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Impero would like to provide student records and behavioral data that will allow school administrators and districts to make informed decisions that could save lives not just now but in the long run because their needs are being met.

 

Schedule a visit or demonstration at the Austin, TX location by visiting www.imperosoftware.com

Visit the resources tab then navigate to the online safety resources page and share the downloadable tool that most resonates with you. District leaders and educators alike stopped by the booth at ISTE and all expressed that Digital Citizenship hit a sweet spot with them.  Not only are these skills important for students but it is equally imperative for adults as well.

Though we were in Hershey’s hometown, the English Cadbury chocolates made their mark. There should be no surprises when it comes to the mental health and safety of students and with this bar of chocolate, you know exactly what you’re going to get.

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Sharing your favorite online resource may just earn you a sweet treat!

Continue the conversation online and connect with Impero via Twitter: @ImperoUS

 

CDI Technologies is Product Strong

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Teachers certainly aren’t pushovers and are as loyal as they can get with products that are tried and true. If you want real input and feedback then ask a teacher or a community of them and they will be critical and constructive because in the end they are the gatekeepers to the users but also recognize that items have to be productive, efficient and effective.

Erez Pikar, CEO of CDI Technologies mentions that their focus is on classroom technology, software and products in the STEM field. They aren’t the new kids on the block and hold a standing record of 35 years in business within the US and Canada to include a roster of about 70 representatives. They pride themselves in customer service and quality. You won’t catch them running you down the aisle, putting on a dog and pony show with flashy lights to attract your attention because they stand on their promise to deliver.

IMG_20190702_103923One of their newest product launches is the @PhotonRobot which caters to users age 5-13 but higher grade options are coming within the next year. This device is ready to use straight from the box and doesn’t require any major assembly. There is a cloud-based curriculum that’s included to focus on programming and other skill sets that will prepare students for future careers.

@ClassVR comes with a full online library of lessons that are ready to be implemented but does not take away from the teacher having free reign to create and customize their own lessons to collaborate and share. These come in sets of 4 or 8 or larger quantities by the cart.

@parlayideas who are creators of The Round Table are at it again with meaningful discussions to engage students with skills like collaboration, critical thinking, and questioning. This strategy allows your classroom to become more student-centered and teacher facilitated to steer the ownership of learning more into the hands of the learners.

Their charging stations and carts are compact and easy to move around versus those big clunky carts that always seem to have you struggling up the hallway against the tide of students. The sliding shelves are like having a lazy susan cabinet in your kitchen and allows access to users so that laptops can be easily stored and all adapters are accommodated as well.  The light panels give you a visible indicator that your devices are charging and plugged up correctly. Do not worry about replacement parts as there is a lifetime warranty included on parts as well as a 3 year electrical part warranty. You don’t have to take my word for it because they were also rated Best in Show at TCEA this year!

On June 4, 2019, CDI also introduced their Extreme Warranty program for Chrome and Window devices in partnership with MAXCases. Schools face a great challenge in budgeting for technology purchases and rollouts and a great deal of training is necessary for teachers and students in order to ensure the longevity of these devices. Unfortunately, with many people handling the devices, limited tech support staff onsite and the lack of proper training, the probability of repairing these devices increases exponentially. These costs can send schools into a tailspin and a feeling of despair.  With the purchase of this warranty, an Extreme Shell protective case is added for no additional cost and if devices are in these coverings then CDI will repair or replace them at no cost. That is a relief and customer support at its finest. The ultimate goal is to have students maximizing their learning opportunities and creating a minimal interruption in the learning process.

Press Release of Extreme Warranty Program

If you did not have an opportunity to meet the team at ISTE and chat with them then don’t miss another opportunity to do so. They truly know how to roll out the red carpet and offer outstanding customer service. You are greeted right away and your time is valuable. CDI really want to know your needs and hear your story in order to give you what you need. To learn more about them directly, watch Brian Romero’s interview on Periscope CDI Technologies Interview .

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With all the excitement happening in the booth all three days, it all led up to a big moment online at the close of the conference with the giveaway challenge that was partnered with # PassTheScopeEDU .  There weren’t a bunch of pencils, stickers or grab bags for teachers in exchange for large purchase orders but instead  @MsDozman5 a 5th-grade teacher at Pennell Elementary School in Pennsylvania won a Chromebook to be able to use with her students or for personal reasons.

Follow CDI Technologies on Twitter at @CDI_EdTech or through their website at www.cditechnologies.com

The Spirit of Competition at ISTE Taught Me Some Things

ISTE18 wasn’t all serious and just focused on teaching and learning but there were some challenges and competitiveness options that existed as well.

In the past, Josue Falaise was beastly at being at the top of the ISTE leader board through the app. He has taken away some notable prizes that were too big to fit into his luggage. He has had to have things shipped back to his home in NJ. Things have changed a little bit with how this was displayed through the app and I think that threw my brother off his game a little bit.

However, Sarah Thomas gave away a Parrot Drone during the EduMatch meetup and I was surprised to be the winner. I knew Josue would be ginning for this prize as he tried skillfully to trade up and switch out. This girl took away this prize and it came home to Georgia with me.

Drone Winning Pic

 

Christian and Josue face off each other in some physical competition. See who endured their interesting take on the #PushUpChallenge here.

The idea is not to “beat” your challenger but ultimately my takeaways from this were:

  1. There are things that motivate student learners to perform and as educators we need to understand that.
  2. As an educator, it is important that I am physically fit and in good health to be my best self. This self-care is important.
  3. At times, there will be factors that will make it hard for me to complete a task or reach my desired outcome–in that moment.  I must push through (unless it just brings physical harm to me or others) and not give up.
  4. It helps to have a system of accountability to help me push through rough and uncertain patches. It is easier to have a buddy or buddies that can help me cross the finish line.
  5. Have fun and be in good spirits. It’s okay to celebrate others that are victorious. I should be okay with the idea that I won’t win them all!Josue and Christian

As I look at transitioning into an administrative role this fall, I recognize that time will be even more limited for me. I also recognize that I need to be able to support others (even when I may not always want to) and I have to be mentally and physically fit to give them my best. Christian inspires me to do the physical work on me that is necessary. I need to bring my SEXY self back by dropping 10lbs.

As I watch his short videos and images on Instagram about the miles he has run, marathons he has finished,  and ” spin cycling” with other district leaders— I recognize I need to set and accomplish some physical goals by moving my bus too. I wish I lived closer to the city to join him but I will find my tribe at work that share similar interests in running and being fit to get going.

I am in competition with only my self in order to create a better version of her and those next to me will hopefully be there to cheer me on and I recognize they will need me as well.

What are some physical goals you have for yourself? How might you get a team together to meet those goals? Leave a comment below.

 

Curriculum Associates: A Company on a Mission

Curriculum Associates is on a mission to “make classrooms better places for teachers and students”. Often times, the classroom can appear to be  a stifling place for both teachers and students. The opportunity to be creative and engaging are usually limited and held hostage by time constraints, pacing guides, few opportunities to collaborate with others and an abundance of meaningless meetings.

While visiting select vendors at ISTE, I came across this booth to the far front left entrance of the exhibition hall. It was huge, large and inviting. When it comes to students demonstrating mastery of standards–we have to ensure that teachers understand how to unpack those standards and then be able to differentiate and personalize learning for students. I know this is easier said than done but truly we need something effective and efficient.

Lynn O’Connor speaks to some of the products their company offers (especially iReady), the overhaul and improved look of their teacher interface, Reading and Math programs for grades K-5, discourse cards in English and Spanish and more updates that will come just in time for Back to School.

See her video here.

It wouldn’t do any good if teahcers could not try the product with students and teachers and give us honest feedback. Thank you to Curriculum Associates for giving away a few sets during ISTE for the #passthescopeEDU giveaway challenge.

Chanel Johnson Winning PicTeacher of the Year Winning PicMakisha Winning Pic

Top Left: Chanel Johnson (GA), Top RightMs. Taylor (CA), and Makisha Rogers (GA #NotatISTE).

We look forward to hearing about these ladies’ experience  with the discourse cards this fall and maybe even snagging a set ourselves.

To learn more about this company, their products, and their blended learning options to truly focus on teaching and learning then visit them on Twitter at @CurriculumAssoc or online at  www.curriculumassociates.com .

Fly High with Power Up Toys

Power Up Toys Logo

Do you remember folding paper in multiple ways to fly planes across the field at recess or even in the room when the teacher wasn’t facing the class? Usually, the planes were on white notebook or copy paper and flew fast or slow (depending on your design). I preferred making those fancy open and close paper thingamajig or better yet designing those fancy rose petal drawings that fill up the entire paper (length and width).

Now we all know all things come to an end or they are upgraded and improved. This brings me back to the plain paper planes that would entertain kids for quite some time. During, ISTE18 Conference in Chicago, I came across a company called PowerUp Toys .

Power Up Dart Paper Plane

They took paper planes to a new level by allowing them to be battery operated and controlled by smartphones. Who does that? They did and did it well.

I came across this company through KEH Communications (find them at http://www.kehcomm.com/ or on Twitter @KEHappenings) who was able to secure a Powerup Dart for one of the #PasstheScopeEDU  challenge giveaways.

Shai Goitein tells us a little more about the company and some of its product. The sound on the Exhibition Hall was a bit noisy ( I should have attached my external mic). Listen to him here.

Now play is not for just the young but also those that are young at heart. Surprisingly, when the challenge was announced, I thought we would get the PE Teachers and young teachers knocking down the booth’s setup. Ironically, one of the first ones to arrive was a couple that worked in Cedar Bluff, AL. They were so excited to have a full on tutorial and test trials with Shai Goitein before actually competing against each other. I am proud to say that GIRLS ROCK and Ms. Bishop took home the prize. Because, they were both great sports–Shai decided they should each take one home. They were estatic but moreso–think of the students that will also benefit.

How might this align to the curriculum or standards? Glad you asked. Can you find laws of physics to teach that will include gravity, weight, speed, distance, and design? How about implementing the Scientific Method and allowing them to hypothesize, infer, record observations, interpret data and analyze cause and effect through multiple variables.

As an educator, I would love to get my hands on many of these for all the kids in my class and there is an opportunity to do just that! Not only are there multiple videos, templates and challenge ideas (under projects and templates tab) on their websites.

There is a National Paper Plane Power Up Challenge for Fall 2018 in which you can register to get your class in on the hands-on learning and fun. Registration is now open until September 28, 2018 and winners will be announced in November. Prizes will be awarded and your class could be the winner of some awesome PowerUp Kits. The form is simple and quick to fill out and contest rules can be found here.

Power Up Challenge

I am always about play while learning and kids being able to learn concepts in engaging ways. These products do not seem to break the ban and can be ordered through school budget or through Pledge Cents or Donors Choose. I would highly encourage educators to think about the learning styles and interests of your students in order to add something that will spark their curiosity and ignite their learning.

I look forward to seeing more from Power Up Toys in the future and the opportunity for teachers to share or even create and build additional challenges across the grade levels and beyond!